In2009, Purdue University created a system called DriftWatch so that specialty crop growers and field crops growers could better live in harmony. Specialty crops growers could input their crops and field locations on a Web site, and pesticide applicators could know where they were and avoid spraying in ways that might allow herbicides to drift in their direction.
DriftWatch caught on quickly, as beekeepers and organic growers also began mapping their locations on DriftWatch, hoping to keep all kinds of pesticides away from them.
A new wave of crops that are resistant to 2,4-D and dicamba is of even greater concern. These older herbicides are less environmentally friendly than glyphosate, and vapor drift is much more frequent. Besides threatening injury to other crops, they can potentially affect natural landscape vegetation as well.
Anyone wanting to participate, or just see what DriftWatch is about , can go to the registry Web site www.driftwatch.org or to the new company Web site at www.fieldwatch.com.
After growing up on a Michigan dairy farm, Richard Lehnert began writing about farming in 1962, while still a junior studying journalism at Michigan State University. He worked at newspapers for a year before joining the staff of Michigan Farmer, where he spent 26 years, the last 15 as chief editor. He was a member of the staff of Good Fruit Grower from 2010 until 2015.
Read his stories: Story Index